The zoo is closing! Ellie and her friends want to save their home, but Ellie's just a baby elephant, and she doesn't know what she can do to help. While the other animals are busy working, Ellie finds a brush and some paints, and gives the zoo a big splash of color! Will her bright new talent be enough to keep the zoo's gates open for good? Follow along with word-for-word narration to find out!
Wu, an animator who has worked on many Pixar hits, makes his literary debut with a story ever-so-gently ripped from the headlines: the artwork-producing elephant. The eponymous heroine is desperate to help her compatriots save their zoo from closing, but she's too small to make a dent in the needed cleanup and repair work. On a whim, Ellie picks up a paintbrush with her trunk and within a few pages, she is a not just a sought-after portraitist, but also a performance artist: "Soon, people from around the world came to see Ellie, the remarkable painting elephant." Wu is a literal writer, but his visual storytelling, rendered in sweet, throwback-style watercolors, shows creativity and poise. Ellie, who looks like she's a branch of Dumbo's family tree, leads a cast of equally endearing animal characters, and every vignette is expertly framed for a chuckle, an "Awww," or both: when Ellie paints a portrait of Lucy the giraffe, her subject's head extends beyond the top edge of the page. Ages 3 5.